Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Category: Blog Assignments (Page 1 of 4)

Blog Assignment #10

For your next blog assignment, read Singh Chapter 7 and imagine you're writing a research-based argumentative paper on some aspect of the chapter. Draft one possible thesis statement for such a paper and share it in the comments below. Your statement should differ in some way from the ones that precede it. Your contribution to this thread is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15th.

(This is something of a warm-up for your final paper assignment in this class, for which you'll put together a research-based argument on some aspect of the security/privacy debate.)

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Blog Assignment #9

For your next blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words in which you first quote, then react to a statement (a sentence or two) in Chapter 2 of danah boyd's book It's Complicated that caught your attention.  You might address how the statement affects your understanding of privacy, connections you see between the statement and other ideas we've discussed this semester, or your own opinions on the statement.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 8th.

Note: If you'd rather leave a 200-400 word response on a peer's post than start your own post, that's fine!

Blog Assignment #8

In preparation for your upcoming podcast assignment, I want you to listen to a few podcast episodes that deal with cryptography. Here's the list:

For your blog post, select one of the three podcast episodes above and respond to one or more of the following questions:

  • What did you find most interesting about the episode?
  • What did the podcast producer do to make the material interesting?
  • What did the producer do to make technical aspects of the material accessible?
  • Based on this episode, what ideas do you have for the podcast episode you will produce? (Consider both topic and format.)

Your blog post should be between 200 and 400 words and is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18th.

Blog Assignment #7

For your next blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words in which you respond to the following prompt.

There are many reasons Allied cryptanalysts (code breakers), such as those at Bletchley Park, were eventually victorious over German cryptographers (code makers). Singh argues that German overconfidence in the strength of Enigma was a primary reason. Identify at least one other reason, and make a case for as a significant reason for the Allied success. Consider both technical and social/cultural factors in the Allied and German crypto efforts.

Please give your post a descriptive title, assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 9th.

Blog Assignment #6

For your next blog assignment, read and comment on a blog post written by a student in a previous offering of this course, one that dealt with topics from Singh Chapter 3. Your response should be between 200 and 400 words, and it should expand upon, add nuance to, or debate assertions made in the original post. To find a post to respond to, I recommend you use the tags listed in the righthand column of the blog. Those are the most popular tags. You can also view all tags.

Leave your response as a comment on the original post. You'll need to click through to the post itself to see the comment field. Be sure to login before leaving your comment.  Your comment is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 2nd.

Blog Assignment #5

This summer, I visited the Newseum in Washington, DC, with my kids. The Newseum is a museum focused on the five liberties of the First Amendment to the US Constitution: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. One of their current exhibits looks at the FBI's role in fighting crime and terrorism. As my daughters and I were walking through the exhibit, I noticed this display:

For your fifth blog assignment, respond to this display in a post between 200 and 400 words. I'm really curious to know what you make of it, given the discussions we've had in the course about privacy and security.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Also, (4) try embedding the above photograph in your post. (Click on "Add Media" when you're composing your post to do so.)

Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27th.

Blog Assignment #4

For your fourth blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words that responds to one of the reading questions for Singh Chapter 2.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 20th.

Blog Assignment #3

For your third blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words in which you (briefly) summarize and react to a passage in Little Brother that caught your attention. You might address why it interests you, connections you see between the passage and other ideas we've discussed this semester, or your opinion on arguments made in the passage.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 11th.

Blog Assignment #2

For your second blog assignment, read the 2011 essay "Mining Student Data Could Save Lives" by Michael Morris of California State University at Channel Islands and write a post between 200 and 400 words that responds to the following prompt.

What is the central argument Morris makes in his essay? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

This is a chance to practice your summarizing skills and to construct a (brief) response to an author's thesis. Feel free to draw on personal experiences in your response, if that's relevant.

Please give your post a descriptive title, and use the "Student Posts" category for your post. Also, give your post at least three tags, where each tag is a word or very short phrase (no more than three words) that describe the post's content. You're encouraged to use tags already in the system if they apply to your post.

Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 4th. If you have any technical problems using WordPress, don't hesitate to ask.

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Blog Assignment #1

For your first blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words that responds to one of the reading questions for Singh Chapter 1.

Please give your post a descriptive title, and use the "Student Posts" category for your post. Also, give your post at least three tags, where each tag is a word or very short phrase (no more than three words) that describe the post's content. You're encouraged to use tags already in the system if they apply to your post.

Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 28th. If you have any questions about sharing your first post here on the blog, don't hesitate to ask.

Here are some basic instructions for posting to WordPress that you might find useful. Also, via xkcd, here's the secret to using any kind of computer technology.

Image: "Ghost Writer," by me, Flickr (CC)
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